On Saturday May 9, 2020, the Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails, the Anne Arundel Community College Astronomy Club, and the Solar System Exploration Division of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have teamed up to offer a day of public programs focusing on our solar system. The events will include a Planet Walk on the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail and an illustrated evening presentation at Anne Arundel Community College, followed by a Stargazing Party at the AACC Observatory. Attendance and parking are free for all events.
The events will kick off at 10:00 am with a Planet Walk along a 4.7-mile segment of the B&A Trail between Glen Burnie and Severna Park. This segment of the Trail features two sculptures and eight planet stations representing the Sun and the planets of the Solar System, with a sculptural stainless steel marker spaced at each planet’s proportional distance from the Sun. Between 10:00 am and 2:30 pm, planetary scientists and astronomers from NASA Goddard, area colleges and universities and local astronomy clubs will be at each of the planet stations to provide information and activities concerning that planet as well as to answer questions.
Participants can walk or bicycle the 4.7-mile course between the Sun Sculpture, located just south of 800 Aquahart Road(behind Harundale Plaza) in Glen Burnie and the Pluto sculpture, located just north of the Earleigh Heights Road Ranger Station in Severna Park. Ample parking is located adjacent to the beginning of the Planet Walk in Glen Burnie. It is recommended that participants start at the Sun Station. This event will be cancelled in the event of heavy rain. For participants seeking a shorter or less time-consuming experience, the six planets between the Sun and Saturn can be visited by traveling in the first 1 1/4 miles of the Planet Walk between Harundale Plaza and Marley Station Mall.
Special evening events are also scheduled at Anne Arundel Community College’s Arnold campus.
Following the Astronomy Cafe’, beginning at 8:30 pm, the AACC Astronomy Club will host a Stargazing Party at the College Observatory. The Observatory is located in the back of parking lots A and B, a short walk from the Student Union. Participants will be able to use the Observatory’s telescopes with the assistance of Astronomy Club members, or may bring their own telescopes. The Stargazing Party will be cancelled in the event that either overcast conditions or inclement weather obscure the heavens.
The Eleventh Anniversary Planet Walk on May 4 will give participants a chance to gain greater insight into the makeup of our solar system as well as to learn about current and past lunar research projects. Additional information about these events is also available on Facebook or http://www.friendsofaatrails.org. A campus map of Anne Arundel Community College may be found at: AACC Campus Map